"Why the tree?…"

“I thought that Druids revered trees as sacred,” Leainati jokingly asks.

“We do, this one is artificial.  No fallen needles to clean up, no fire hazard,” Ga’len responds.  Slowly, he continues to place ornaments on the tree.  He takes the time to step back every so often to look at the work he has done.  Is the tree balanced?  Are there too many lights on the left or right?  Are there too few ornaments on the lower branches?  These things must be considered.

Decorating a tree is a very important thing.  If there are too many ornaments and not enough lights, the three will look dull.  If there are too many lights and not ornaments, the tree will be too bright.  And the worst of all, too many of both and it will just look like a wreck in the corner.  It’s a delicate balance.  It takes a great deal of time to learn how to balance the tree with the room, the lights and the ornaments.

Suddenly, a moment of enlightenment appears across Ga’len’s eyes.  He looks upon the fruit of his labors and realizes that moment of enlightenment strikes his brain with perfect clarity.  Apparently Ga’len has yet to master this art.

“Well, it looks like…..crap,” Ga’len says with disgust, “I never can get these bloody things to look nice.”

“Wait a moment,” Leainati speaks with conviction as she looses a switch kick to the tree stand.  Suddenly ornaments begin to rain down on the work cloth.

Ga’len’s eye shoot wide and suddenly, another moment of enlightenment visits his brain.  Apparently Leainati has mastered the art of decorating a tree, “Looks much better sis’, much better indeed.”

Leainati looked at the tree with a smile and a questioning in her eyes, “I still don’t get it, what’s the purpose of display a tree with light an ornaments? What’s this Christmas thing you were talking about earlier?”

Ga’len motioned for her to sit at one of the banquet tables.  “Well, it was a long time ago,” Ga’len pauses for a moment, ” When I was still a student at the university on Oris.  I was studying the histories from the very ancient times, the age before the collapse of the EVE gate.”

“But I thought all that knowledge was lost,” Leaianati askes, “When the civilizations almost died out, nothing survived.”

Ga’len smiled and continued, “Many things were lost, but there were pieces of old parchment, old data storage devices and other relics of our collective past that have survived the ages.  Some things are so old that no one really knows if they belong to the Amarr or Minmatar or possibly even the Jovians.  Records from before the rise of man in this age are almost impossible to find.  The few that do exist are either discarded as cleverly crafted fabrications meant for stirring up controversy or are simply beyond our understanding.  I was working in the archives and I came across an old metal box with a picture of a star on it.  When I opened the box, I found an old book written in a Terran dialect similar to the common language used today.   The book was very delicate but was strong enough to survive the digital capturing process.”

Leaniati gasped, “A book?!  A Terran book?  What was it, tell me!”

Ga’len pulled out a datapad from his pocket, “I still have a copy of it here.  It was a ‘scrapbook’, a collection of research articles and piece of literature.  Here, read this poem, The Night Before Christmas.”

He hands the datapad to his sister.  After a few moments she places the datapad on the table, “So, some fat guy in a red suit breaks into your home at night and leaves you gifts as he flys around in some cart with ‘magical’ beasts of burden.  No wonder you Amarrians are so screwed up!”

Ga’len laughs so hard that he nearly falls out of his seat.  “Most Amarrians don’t believe in this old story, heck, I doubt that most of them have read this poem.  It was stored in the archives, I had to sneak this out of there as it was forbidden to take anything from the old vaults.”

Ga’len continues, “Christmas as I learned was an ancient religious holiday on Earth.  It celebrates the birth of a man who is supposed to be a son of their god.  This man was to bring peace to the world.  His presence was revered at the time and many people followed his teachings.  As time progressed on Earth, new traditions came to pass to celebrate this man’s birth.  Winter was harsh in ancient times and people would bring greenery into their homes to try to lighten the mood.  It began to decorate the greenery and on a day in a month called December, people would exchange gifts.”

Leainati nods her head, “Ah, so the tree was one of these pieces of greenery then?”

“Yes, in time, people started to decorate a tree they would bring into their homes,” Ga’len turned to look at the tree they had put up.

“Well, what happened to this man?  Did he succeed in teaching people to be nice to each other?” Leaniati asks.

Ga’len frowns a bit, “I’m not sure.  From what I was able to learn, he was eventually killed by his own people.”

“Figures, someone wanting to change the world would fail, no one can make a difference,” Leaniati spoke with bitter anger in her voice.

Ga’len took up his datapad and pulled up another story.  He began to read it aloud.

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of His divine manhood.

While still a young man, the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial.

He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth while He was dying—and that was his coat. When he was dead He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life. -Quoted

Leainati sat still with a tear rolling down here cheek, “One man changed the world.  Wait, I thought that Druids didn’t believe in the Amarrian god.”

“Well, I never said I didn’t believe in a god.  I just don’t believe in the Amarrian religion,” Ga’len smiled, “The divine is perfection.  Belief and faith are attempts to be one with that perfection, that truth of existence.  Druids seek that truth.  Religion is something made by man.  Things that are made by man can never be perfect as man will always be flawed.  To me at least, I don’t believe in religion.  I believe in truth.”

Leainati speaks slowly as she looks are more and more information on Ga’len’s datapad, “So regardless if you were religious, you could celebrate this holiday as well?’

Ga’len looks at Leainati with a big smile, “Most people did and it’s why I do.  The Druid holiday is around the same time, so why not?  Christmas celebrations were times that you spent with family and friends, exchanged gifts, ate great meals and reminded oneself of what was important in life.”

” Look at it this way.  It does not matter if you believe if this man, Jesus, was actually a son of a god nor if you are a religious person.  If you are a good person with a good heart and different beliefs, it does not matter what you believe.  It matter that you believe in something.  You believe in fighting to free your people from oppression, to be kind to those who need kindness and dispatch your wrath upon those who would do you and yours harm.  I believe in freeing the human race from slavery, both the slaves and those who call themselves their masters.  We both believe in what this man tried to teach our race many ages ago, don’t we?” Ga’len asks.

“We believe that we can be better than we are,” Leainati spoke soflly, “that we are not perfect, but we can try to be.”

“Yes”, Ga’len responds, “we can be better than we are.  We may never get there, but it’s the journey that allows us to find those perfect moments of truth.  It’s the belief that we can be better, that faith in that truth, that will get us there when we pass into the next life.”

Leainati asks more question, “So, what else did they do around Christmas?  Anything very strange?”

Ga’len thought for a moment, “Well, some people used to walk around and sing in front of the doors of people’s homes.  Young men sometimes would chase young ladies around, holding a twit above their heads, something called ‘mistletoe’.  Perhaps it was some game, who knows.  Oh yes, that Santa fellow you read about, the one who would break into your house.  People would leave food out for him.  Give a fat man a sugary, fat filled cookie.  Very strange indeed.  Oh, something about leaving a piece of carbon in a stocking, still trying to figure that one out….”

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~ by J. Riley Castine on December 16, 2009.

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